March Is Extension Living Well Month
I love this time of year when the weather is warming up and flowers start coming out. It gets me more motivated to get outside and be active. It also makes me want to do some spring cleaning. Another thing that happens this time of year is turning in your taxes and possibly getting a refund. What do all of these things have in common? They all have to do with living well.
March is Extension Living Well month. Living well is not just nutrition and physical activity. We want to focus on all aspects of living well like keeping our home clean and safe, managing our finances, and taking care of our mental health. All of these are important for living well.
Having a healthy home covers a wide range of topics. This could mean washing your dishes every day and sweeping. It also means making sure your HVAC system is serviced and you have it turned to the correct setting. A healthy home also means your home is free of pests. Did you know a mouse can fit in a hole the size of a dime? Making sure your home is free from fall risks is also important. Do not have too many items packed around your home to where it makes it difficult to get around. I have heard people say they donate the number of items on their
birthday as the age they are turning. You can see if that strategy works for you.
After making sure you have a healthy home, make sure you have your finances in order. I cannot stress the importance of an emergency fund enough. This amount is different for each house hold but make sure you have enough saved to pay a month’s worth of bills, or enough for an expensive surprise situation like a blown tire or appliance needing replaced. You roughly need around $1,000 saved. If you never need it, great! However, if you do find yourself in that situation you will be thankful you have it. If you get a tax return that is a great place to start saving for your emergency fund.
Another way to be financially well is to set some money goals and then make a monthly budget. A budget is important to stay on track toward your financial goals. Write down where all your money went the previous month and you might be surprised how much you are spending in certain areas. Mine is always eating out. Once you see how much you are spending on certain items you can make a plan on how to decrease spending and start saving more.
As you can see living well has many components. Nutrition and physical activity usually are on the top of my list when I think of living well. We all want to do it the best we can but sometimes fall short. This month the N.C. Cooperative Extension of Jackson County office is offering two ways to get moving this March. Our first opportunity is on Mondays from 11:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m. (skipping March 15). It is a 4-week program called Eat Smart, Live Strong. We will be focusing on eating more fruits and vegetables, and moving more. It is an in-person program. If you miss the first class, don’t worry, you can catch up and join us in week two. Our second opportunity is Wednesday Walkers. This is not a structured program. We will meet just to keep each other accountable and have fun. The Wednesday Walkers will meet during lunch from noon–1 p.m. Again this is not structured so you can walk for a shorter or longer amount of time. Both programs will meet at the trail located in the field beside the Extension office on Skyland Drive in the Skyland Service Center.
If being around other people still has you feeling uncomfortable do not worry. There is another opportunity that is done on your own. We have made calendars with five different colored boxes in each day that corresponds with five living well goals. Whenever you complete a goal that day you give yourself a check in the correct colored box. At the end of the month you turn in your calendar to me (the FCS agent) and I will add up all the points and the people with the most will get incentives as supplies last. Also, everyone that turns in a calendar will be entered
into a drawing to win a set of ski walking poles and new walking shoes! If you are interested in getting this calendar email firstname.lastname@example.org with subject line March Calendar Program.
I hope you are as excited about these programs as I am. If you have any questions please contact the N.C. Cooperative Extension – Jackson County Center and ask for Emily, the Family Consumer Science Agent, or email email@example.com.